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Theodore Thomas (Max Platz photo)

Wishing a very happy birthday to our founder and first music director, Theodore Thomas, on the occasion of his 187th birthday!

Below is an excerpt from a review in the Chicago Tribune, following the Chicago Orchestra‘s first concert (the first performance of a subscription week, usually a matinee, was sometimes referred to as a “public rehearsal”):

“Chicago’s Orchestra the Peer of Any in the Land . . . It has been stated that the Orchestral Association‘s contract with Mr. Thomas stipulated that he should in the Chicago Orchestra give to the city an organization the peer of the finest in the United States. Yesterday’s public rehearsal at the Auditorium by that orchestra showed that Mr. Thomas has filled his contract. In this company of eighty-six players, Chicago now possesses an orchestral organization of which its people may indeed be proud, and the day is only a few months distant when they will be able to say to the similar organizations possessed by older sisters in the East, ‘Here is your new equal!’ . . . Theodore Thomas has long been known for his ability to quickly bring newly formed orchestras into condition for satisfactory work, but in this instance he has fairly surpassed himself, the results being simply astonishing. . . . The body of the tone produced is superb, possessing a vitality, a fullness, and volume such as been heard from no orchestra ever before in Chicago. The unity and precision in attack were also surprising because of an excellence far superior to what had been even hoped for.”

Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1891

This article also appears here.

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The opinions expressed here are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

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